By Sheikh Muhammad ibn Al-’Uthaymeen
O people! Fear Allaah and learn the rulings of your religion so that you can worship Allaah with clear understanding. The example of one who worships Allaah on the basis of sound knowledge in comparison to one who worships Allaah in ignorance is like the example of one who walks on a well-lit road while the other walks on a totally dark one; the former is aware of his footsteps and is sure of his safety, while the latter is ignorant and constantly fears slipping and straying.
O people! It has become a widespread belief among the masses that Hajj is not acceptable to Allaah if it is made by a pilgrim whose parents did not present a sacrificial offering seven days after his birth (i.e., for his ‘Aqeeqah). In reality, the ‘Aqeeqah has nothing to do with Hajj, for the soundness and acceptability of one's Hajj is not affected by whether or not one has had an ‘Aqeeqah.
There is another widespread belief that a person who is in Ihraam is not permitted to change the clothes that he is wearing. This belief is also incorrect, since a male or female in Ihraam is permitted to change the clothes in which he or she assumed Ihraam. (However, in the case of a male it must be replaced by the two cloths of Ihraam and not regular clothing).
It is also believed by some that a person in Ihraam is not permitted to cut down trees from the moment he assumes Ihraam. However, cutting down trees outside the Haram area is permissible for both those in Ihraam, and those who are not, as long as such trees are outside the sanctuary of the Haram. Thus, it is permissible for those in Ihraam and those who are not to cut down trees in ‘Arafah, but not in Minaa and Muzdalifah, since ‘Arafah lies outside the Haram, while Minaa and Muzdalifah are within its sanctuary.
Some people believe that Hajj is annulled if a pilgrim does not touch or kiss the Black Stone. But this is not true because touching the black stone or kissing it is recommended when it is affordable to do so, but is preferable to be overlooked in the case of dense crowding. This view is based on the saying of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam to ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab, may Allaah be pleased with him: “O ‘Umar! You are a strong man; don’t jostle (through the crowds) to reach the (Black) Stone, lest you should hurt the weak. If you find a gap then you may touch it, otherwise, you may face its direction and utter Tahleel and Takbeer (i.e., saying: ‘laa ilaaha illallaah and Allaahu akbar”) (i.e., there is nothing worthy of worship except Allaah, and Allaah is the Greatest). Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allaah be pleased with him, disapproved of jostling against the crowds and would say in this regard: “No one should inflict harm on others nor be harmed by them.” Thus, the circumambulation of a person who avoids jostling against the crowds is better and more perfect than one who is given to jostling, thus causing harm to himself and to others.
Some people worry about circumambulating behind the Station of Prophet Ibraaheem, peace be upon him, but I say to them that there is no cause for worry as it is permissible to circumambulate even from behind the Station of Prophet Ibraaheem. The people of knowledge, may Allaah shower His Mercy on them, maintained that the whole Sacred Mosque (Al-Masjid Al-Haram) is a place for circumambulation, even if it is done in the courtyard of the Sacred Mosque. However, the nearer to the Sacred House, the better the circumambulation, provided that the pilgrim does not expose himself or others to harm.
O people! We see many pilgrims jostling behind the Station of Prophet Ibraaheem in order to be as near to it as possible, thinking that the two Rak’ahs of Tawaaf will not be valid except when performed near the Station. This is not correct, since proximity to the Station is not a condition of the validity of the two Rak’ahs. Rather the two Rak’ahs are valid even if the pilgrim is far from the Station, though he should have the Station between himself and the Ka’bah, even if he is in the courtyard or extension of the Mosque - if there are large crowds.
O people! Sometimes prayer is established while a pilgrim is circumambulating or walking between Mounts Safaa and Marwah (i.e., doing Sa’i), if this is the case then he must observe that prayer and then complete the Tawaaf or Sa’i from the point at which he stopped.
Sometimes a pilgrim feels tired and wishes to postpone his Sa’i to another time, either till the beginning of the day or the end of night, which is permissible. It is also permissible for a pilgrim who feels tired during Sa’i to sit down, take a rest and then continue Sa’i again, or to resume while being carried on a carrier.
O people! Certain questions are frequently asked about women who are menstruating or who have puerperal blood; what should they do in their Ihraam? The answer to such questions is found in the reply given by the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her: “Do all that a pilgrim does except that you are not permitted circumambulate the House.” Thus, a menstruating woman or one who has a puerperal blood may perform all the rites of Hajj, except that she is not permitted to circumambulate the Ka'bah until after she is purified. Sa’i is attached to Tawaaf in this regard. Thus, if a woman assumes Ihraam to make ‘Umrah while she is menstruating, or if she begins menstruating after assuming Ihraam, she may only complete her ‘Umrah if she becomes pure before sunrise. She may then take her Ihraam off (as usual) and subsequently make Ihraam intending to perform Hajj with the people. However, if the sun rises before she becomes purified, she should intend Hajj and merge it with ‘Umrah, thus performing Qiran Hajj, for which it is sufficient for her to make one Tawaaf and one Sa’i to complete both her Hajj and ‘Umrah.
Allaah the Almighty said that which means: “And strive for Allaah with the striving due to Him. He has chosen you and has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty. [It is] the religion of your father, Ibraaheem. He [i.e., Allaah] named you 'Muslims' before [in former scriptures] and in this [revelation] that the Messenger may be a witness over you and you may be witnesses over the people. So establish prayer and give zakaah and hold fast to Allaah. He is your protector, and excellent is the helper.” (Al-Hajj: 78).